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How to get started with Google Reader

David Daw | Aug. 10, 2012
You may already be using Google Reader, Google's Web-based RSS reader, but you probably haven't figured out every advanced trick for getting the most out of this free RSS syndication service. RSS (aka "RDF Site Summary" or "Really Simply Syndication"), a feed-based communication system that most websites support, makes it easy to stay abreast of your favorite websites from a single page. Though some third-party programs and even some browsers can help you curate your favorite RSS feeds in one place, Google Reader's Web-based structure means you can set it up on one computer and then open it anywhere by logging in to your Google account and heading to reader.google.com.

You may already be using Google Reader, Google's Web-based RSS reader, but you probably haven't figured out every advanced trick for getting the most out of this free RSS syndication service. RSS (aka "RDF Site Summary" or "Really Simply Syndication"), a feed-based communication system that most websites support, makes it easy to stay abreast of your favorite websites from a single page. Though some third-party programs and even some browsers can help you curate your favorite RSS feeds in one place, Google Reader's Web-based structure means you can set it up on one computer and then open it anywhere by logging in to your Google account and heading to reader.google.com.

Google Reader is simple to use once you've set it up, but your first time with the service can be a bit confusing. We've assembled all the tips you need to collect your RSS feeds and have them ready to go in short order.

Getting Started With Google Reader

If you already have a Google account because you use Gmail, Google+, or one of Google's other Web services, signing up with Google Reader is as easy as signing in to your Google account on the Google Reader homepage.

After signing in, you'll probably notice that your Google Reader page is a bit sparse. Google Reader is designed to serve as a reader for your RSS feeds, so you'll need to add some of your favorite sites in order to have content to peruse.

To add new feeds to your Google Reader page, click the Subscribe button on the upper-left area of the page. Doing so should should cause the pag to open a small dialog box where you can add a new feed. In many instances, if you're adding a feed from a relatively large site, you can simply enter the site's name and Google Reader will return a list of RSS feeds that you might have been looking for. For example, type PCWorld, and Google Reader will list PCWorld feeds such as Top News, Latest Reviews, and Laptop Stories. Click one of the links to see a preview of stories from that feed, to ensure that it's the feed you're looking for; then click the Subscribe button under the description to add the feed to your Google Reader.

As you add feeds, Google Reader will start to get a feel for your interests and will give you access to the Explore button. When you press Explore, you'll see posts from RSS feeds that you haven't yet subscribed to that Google's analytical algorithm has concluded that you might also like. Creepy? Sure. Useful? Definitely.

Mastering the Google Reader Interface

 

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